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Mystery Noise? Do It Yourself.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives

Mystery Noise? Do It Yourself.

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
September 10, 2013


Car Repair
These days, once you've discovered a reliable and trustworthy garage it pays to stick with it. Some people even become reliant on them, phoning up or visiting for every little issue, like a lonely hypochondriac at the doctor’s.

Fine, if there’s some dire mechanical fault or you are worried about poor economy then by all means pop along and get some good advice but what if it is just an irritating vibration or squeak that’s driving you mad? Garage proprietors hate these occasions and with good cause. Whilst they may well know all the cacophony of sounds that a car can make it is shockingly hard to diagnose the sound of a child’s Wellington boot trapped in the corner of the boot well.

If you persist and demand they solve the problem then they will have a fall-back position. The Chief Mechanic will be called over. He will listen to the noise. He will scratch his head, kick a tyre or two and suck air in over his teeth - sometimes simultaneously - and ask for a clipboard. He will then commence to write down large and complex financial calculations which he will show you. This is designed to make you back off.

Of course, this all presupposes that your vehicle will make the noise at the right time. Certainly, it will make it all the way to the garage but, as sure as shooting, it will stop as you drive onto the forecourt. The car will behave like a malingering dog taken to the vets. It will stubbornly refuse to show any sign of a problem until you get home. Then it all begins again.

There is a solution and it is an easy one that costs you nothing - do it yourself (See tenuously connected gratuitous pic). Here’s a true story. A driver of a well-known Japanese car is being driven crazy by a prolonged squeak - a known issue on this particular car - when he operates the clutch pedal. He goes to the garage. They apply lubricating oil to the pedal without success. In some cases with this vehicle dealers have been known to change clutch parts to resolve the problem and all the time the bill gets bigger and bigger.

As it turns out, all it involved was the act of getting down on knees and delving into the foot well whilst injecting heavy duty grease up into the area where they pedal goes through the firewall. Job done and it lasted for months before a re-application was required.

In other words, what is needed is a bit of time and perseverance. Spend time with your noise; grow to appreciate it. Crawl around the vehicle and try to isolate it in its lair. Does one action cause it and another doesn’t? Are you doing a particular function each time? More often than not the cause will come to light with just the loss of some skin off your knuckles. After all, nobody wants to pay out a large sum to have an Action Man body part removed from behind the rear seat squab!



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